To Kill a Mockingbird Chapter 22 Summary

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  • 0:03 It Was Jem's Turn to Cry
  • 1:13 Things Seem Better in…
  • 2:33 Cake With Miss Maudie
  • 3:57 More Trouble Is Brewing
  • 4:54 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Erica Schimmel

Erica has taught college English writing and literature courses and has a master's degree in children's literature.

Tom Robinson has been found guilty of beating and raping Mayella Ewell. Though the trial is finished, trouble is not over for the Finches. In Chapter 22, Jem tries to understand the verdict, and Maycomb County responds to the trial.

It Was Jem's Turn to Cry

At the opening of Chapter 22, Jem is angrily crying as he, Scout, and Dill leave the courtroom. Throughout the trial, Jem was optimistic about Tom's chances. But despite Atticus disproving the Ewell's claims, the jury returned a guilty verdict after hours of deliberation. They make their way to Atticus while Jem repeats 'It ain't right.' Atticus agrees.

They find Aunt Alexandra waiting up at home. Scout wonders if Jem somehow blames Atticus for the guilty verdict. When Aunt Alexandra asks if Jem is all right, Atticus responds the trial was a little much for Jem. Aunt Alexandra proclaims she did not think the children should attend. Atticus interrupts, saying this is their home and they will have to learn to manage. She pushes her point, but he tells her racism is 'just as much Maycomb County as missionary teas.' He tells her he is not bitter, only tired.

Jem asks how the jury could convict Tom. Atticus responds that he doesn't know, but this is not the first time, nor will it be the last. His response implies he is more upset about the unfairness of the racist verdict than he is letting on.

Things Seem Better in the Morning

Despite the disappointment, Atticus gets up at his usual early hour. He is reading the paper in the living room when Scout and Jem get out of bed. Atticus reassures Jem there will at least be an appeal. Their conversation is cut short when Calpurnia serves Atticus his breakfast. She tells him that Tom Robinson's father sent over a chicken. Another woman sent over rolls. When Atticus is puzzled, Calpurnia tells him he should come with her to the kitchen. Scout and Jem follow.

They find the 'kitchen table loaded with enough food to bury the family.' Calpurnia tells Atticus she found the food on the back steps when she arrived. She tells Atticus the food is meant to show appreciation, and asks whether the senders crossed a line. Atticus, with tears in his eyes, is silent for a moment. When he speaks, he asks her to tell them he is thankful. He quickly leaves and makes his way to town without eating his breakfast.

Dill arrives as Atticus is leaving. He tells them that Miss Rachel was upset with him for not telling her he went to the trial. He says that he told her his plans, but she doesn't remember, because she drinks. He mentions that she thinks 'if a man like Atticus Finch wants to butt his head against a stone wall it's his head.' When Aunt Alexandra tells him not to speak in such a cynical way, Dill insists he is only telling the truth.

Cake With Miss Maudie

The children step outside and see Miss Stephanie Crawford talking to Miss Maudie and Mr. Avery about the trial. Miss Maudie calls Jem over, and Dill and Scout go with him. When they arrive, Miss Stephanie begins questioning them about the trial. Miss Maudie quiets her, and tells Jem she woke up at five to bake cakes, so he and his colleagues must say yes to coming over.

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